Cyclonic storm Amphan is brewing in the Bay of Bengal and is likely to bring heavy to very heavy rain in the coastal districts of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh between May 18 and May 20.
The state governments have geared up for rescue and relief operations. The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) on Saturday reviewed the preparedness for the impending cyclone and directed immediate assistance to West Bengal and Odisha.
IMD Bhubaneswar director, HR Biswas said that cyclone Amphan was likely to make landfall in between Sagar Islands (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) during the afternoon/evening of May 20.
The cyclonic storm 'Amphan' (pronounced as UM-PUN) has been turning north-northwestwards with a speed of 6 kmph over the past six hours on Sunday.
"Cyclone Amphan over Southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood moved north-northwestwards with a speed of 6 kmph during the past 6 hours, intensified slightly & lay centred over the same region at 5:30 AM today, about 990 km south of Paradip & 1140 km south-southwest of Digha," according to IMD.
Under its impact, the coastal districts of West Bengal, including North and South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly will experience heavy to very heavy rain on May 19 and 20.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into North Bay of Bengal along and off West Bengal-Odisha coasts for the next three days. And those fishermen, who were out in the sea, were asked to return to coasts by May 17.
According to IMD, wind speed along and off the coastal areas of West Bengal will reach 45 to 55 kmph with gusts of 65 kmph from May 19 afternoon and will gradually increase to 75 to 85 kmph with gusts upto 90 kmph from May 20 morning.
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has put a target of zero casualties from the cyclone before administration amid coronavirus epidemic.
Considering the gravity of the cyclonic storm, the Odisha government urged the Centre to temporarily suspend 'Shramik Special' trains passing through areas falling in the direction of the cyclone on Saturday.
Patnaik also directed the district collectors to prepare an evacuation plan keeping in view the IMD's forecast and shift people living in low-laying area.